On 13 June 2022, the First Annual Conference of the Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) was successfully completed at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Jamaica. The event attracted 750 participants, including Heads of State, government ministers, diplomats, business leaders, high-level representatives of special economic zones and investment promotion agencies, academics and members of the media.
The opening ceremony included distinguished speakers who expressed their support to GASEZ. Among them, H.E. Mr. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce of Jamaica. He stated: “This new alliance will open up a space for free zones around the world to facilitate trade, encourage economic growth, enable the employment of a great number of people in countries around the world, and really foster linkages between business and ordinary entrepreneurs and citizens of countries around the world.”
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, also spoke. In his opening remarks he said that “An ambitious initiative like the Global Alliance is timely and can indeed help mobilize support for and galvanize actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The programme featured a high-level panel discussion on Key Emerging Issues for Special Economic Zones and two workshops on Sustainable Development Goal Model Zones and Working Together to Facilitate Investment in the Recovery.
The closing ceremony of the conference included a keynote address by H.E. Mr. Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, who stated “This is a momentous occasion, given that the mandate of GASEZ is to drive the modernisation of special economic zones worldwide, in order to boost development.”
The conference concluded with the official signing ceremony for the establishment of GASEZ. Representatives from the Free Trade Zones Association of the Americas (AZFA), the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP), the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) of the United States of America, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Free and Special Economic Zones Federation (FEMOZA) and the World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) signed in person and representatives from the African Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) and the Green Partnership for Industrial Parks of China (GPIPC) signed remotely via video.